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Martins caps Inter comeback

Published: Thursday 30 March 2006, 0.50CET
FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 Villarreal CF
Substitute Obafemi Martins made the difference as the Nerazzurri fought back to claim a victory.
by John Atkin
from Giuseppe Meazza

Match statistics

InternazionaleVillarreal

Goals scored2
 
1
Attempts on target11
 
6
Attempts off target9
 
5
Corners4
 
1
Offsides6
 
1
Fouls committed22
 
16
Yellow cards3
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 30 March 2006, 0.50CET

Martins caps Inter comeback

FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 Villarreal CF
Substitute Obafemi Martins made the difference as the Nerazzurri fought back to claim a victory.

A live-wire performance from substitute Obafemi Martins helped FC Internazionale Milano to an impressive 2-1 victory against Villarreal CF in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Shock lead
Martins came on just after the half-hour but it was after the restart that he found his feet, scoring what proved to be the decisive goal on 54 minutes. The win looked unlikely early on as Diego Forlán gave Villarreal a shock lead, although the home side responded with aplomb. Adriano equalised six minutes later but the night was to belong to fellow forward Martins.

Dream start
Forlán had given the visitors a dream start when he tapped in calmly within 60 seconds of the kick-off after Francesco Toldo could only parry José María Romero's low strike. It was Juan Román Riquelme's through-ball that had created the initial opening and Inter's Alvaro Recoba, preferred ahead of Martins, soon did similar at the other end to send Adriano clear. The Brazilian's chip left Sebastián Viera stranded but Javi Venta was on hand with a goalline clearance.

Blistering opening
Venta was a late inclusion in the starting XI as he and Juan Manuel Peña returned to provide a boost to coach Manuel Pellegrini, who was without Alessio Tacchinardi, Josico and Rodolfo Arruabarrena through suspension. But while Venta quickly made a contribution, Peña was found wanting on seven minutes when he failed to deal with Dejan Stanković's scuffed right-wing cross. The ball fell kindly for Adriano who swivelled and rifled in from close range – his 12th goal in only 15 UEFA Champions League matches.

Midfield generals
It capped a frenzied beginning to the game in front of an expectant crowd, who had also seen Juan Sebastián Verón test Viera following another defence-splitting pass from Recoba. The Uruguayan forward was a pervasive presence for the Nerazzurri but both back lines gradually found their shape, with Marcos Senna and Esteban Cambiasso key figures in a crowded midfield. Still, the lively Forlán twice forced Toldo into diving stops, while Recoba's bobbling effort earned a corner midway through the half.

Recoba injured
The Inter attacker hobbled off soon afterwards to be replaced by Martins, and the tireless running of the pacy Nigerian gave Inter options and created space in midfield. Verón was the obvious beneficiary, but captain Javier Zanetti also grew more adventurous, making a series of surges into the heart of the Villarreal defence as the visitors were placed on the back foot.

Lively presence
Martins emerged for the second half five minutes before his team-mates, and almost gained immediate reward for his conscientiousness when he just failed to reach a cross from César, deployed in place of the injured Luís Figo. Martins was set to lead the field in a mass public jog on Thursday as part of a fitness drive in Milan, but may yet find the exertion too much after an exhausting start to the second period that culminated in Inter taking a deserved advantage.

Unusual circumstances
Stanković's rasping centre found Martins free at the back post and the 21-year-old flicked the ball into the empty net. That left Villarreal in new territory, as the Spanish team had never before been behind in their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign. Venta needed to be at his best to block Martins soon after, before Riquelme almost fashioned an equaliser, his long-range free-kick striking the crossbar.

False hope
It proved a false dawn as Inter continued to press, though they were unable to add to their lead despite chances for Adriano and Martins. They could come to regret that profligacy in the return in Spain, where they have lost ten of 14 games in UEFA competition, although they beat Villarreal's local rivals Valencia CF 5-1 in their last visit a year ago.

Last updated: 30/03/06 10.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2203/match=1105605/postmatch/report/index.html#martins+caps+inter+comeback

Lineups

internazionale

Internazionale

villarreal

Villarreal

1
ToldoFrancesco Toldo (GK)
13
VieraSebastián Viera (GK)
2
CórdobaIván Córdoba
2
Gonzalo RodríguezGonzalo Rodríguez
4
ZanettiJavier Zanetti (C)
4
ArzoCésar Arzo
Substitution60
5
StankovićDejan Stanković
Substitution82
5
ForlánDiego Forlán
Goal1
10
AdrianoAdriano
Goal7
8
RiquelmeJuan Riquelme
14
VerónJuan Verón
Yellow Card90+1
11
CallejaJavier Calleja (C)
Substitution87
19
CambiassoEsteban Cambiasso
12
SorínJuan Pablo Sorín
Yellow Card34
20
RecobaÁlvaro Recoba
Yellow Card27
Substitution28
17
Javi VentaJavi Venta
25
SamuelWalter Samuel
Yellow Card62
19
SennaMarcos Senna
Yellow Card34
31
CésarCésar
Substitution69
22
PeñaJuan Manuel Peña
33
WomePierre Wome
23
José MaríJosé Marí
Substitution76

Substitutes

12
Júlio CésarJúlio César (GK)
25
BarbosaMariano Barbosa (GK)
6
ZanettiCristiano Zanetti
10
Roger GarcíaRoger García
8
PizarroDavid Pizarro
16
Q. ÁlvarezQuique Álvarez
Substitution60
9
CruzJulio Cruz
21
Santi CazorlaSanti Cazorla
Substitution87
18
Kily GonzálezKily González
Substitution82
30
AlcántaraCarlos Alcántara
23
MaterazziMarco Materazzi
Substitution69
33
RubioJosé Rubio
30
MartinsObafemi Martins
Substitution28
Goal54
99
FrancoGuillermo Franco
Substitution76

Coach

Roberto Mancini (ITA) Manuel Pellegrini (CHI)

Referee

Alain Sars (FRA)

Assistant referees

Frédéric Arnault (FRA), Vincent Texier (FRA)

Fourth official

Damien Ledentu (FRA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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